FOLLOW THE FISH
Capt. Pete Rapps
We are now approaching our coolest month of the year. Gulf water temperatures typically average in the mid-to-high 60’s into January. The days when the fronts are absent, the sun is shining, and the thermometer gets up into the mid-70’s, can make for some awesome fishing!
January is another month that you should keep an eye on your tide chart before planning your day on the water. We have some extremely low tides around both the full and new moons. If you get caught in a -.5 low tide that you did not anticipate, it could ruin your day! Be extra careful with the morning low tides Jan. 1–5, 13-18 and Jan. 27–Feb 2.
Speckled sea trout regulations for our southern region allow licensed fishermen to keep up to four per person, between 15 inches and 20 inches, and allow you to keep just one over the 20-inch mark. These rules do vary so be sure to confirm them with current regulations by the FWC at www.myfwc.com.
The shallow grass flats are alive with trout, bluefish, ladyfish, jacks, Spanish macks and some pompano. One my favorites are DOA jerkbaits and shrimp, both in rootbeer and white color. You can also use 3/8 oz bucktail type jigs tipped with a very small piece of shrimp.
The oyster bars hold sheepshead and redfish. If presenting natural bait, they both like to eat crustaceans, like shrimp, sand fleas and fiddler crabs. Fish for these guys on the oyster bars on the incoming tide. Snook are being caught, but please remember that they are catch and release only. Take a quick photo and quickly set them free. We have been catching snook over oyster bars on good moving outgoing tides. They have been hitting a variety of baits, including jigs, soft plastics and live bait.
Need some lessons? Book a charter, and we’ll show you how it’s done![email_link]